It was in 2017, the UAEJJF officially held its first Para Jiu-Jitsu World Championship. One of the pioneers of para jiu-jitsu is black belt Elcirley Luz Silva, one of the first athletes who overcame his injury through jiu-jitsu.
Professor Elcirley was kind enough to share his journey and his important work promoting para jiu-jitsu. He also discussed his collaboration with the UAEJJF/AJP to promote the para jiu-jitsu athletes.
Professor Elcirley’s Entry Into Jiu-Jitsu
Elcirley Luz Silva began his jiu-jitsu training in 1996. He enjoyed the training, but would practice on and off over the next eighteen years until he received his brown belt in 2014.
“I really liked the self-defense aspect for its efficiency.”
Before receiving his brown belt in 2014, Elcirley suffered an accident that would change his life. This accident resulted in the amputation of his leg. After the accident, Elcirley began rebuilding his life and learning how to adapt to his disability. His quest for a new normal life led him back to jiu-jitsu training.
Upon returning to training, Silva discovered a newfound passion for Jiu-Jitsu. Through his practice, he not only healed his body but also found mental solace as he adapted to the techniques.
“I truly fell in love with jiu-jitsu in 2014, after my accident, when I discovered how quickly and safely it facilitated my physical and mental readaptation. This inspired me to aim for the black belt and develop jiu-jitsu skills for people with disabilities with the support of the UAEJJF.”
Silva’s journey led him to an important mission, not only to earn a black belt, but also to adapt jiu-jitsu training for disabled individuals and provide them with a platform. A platform to showcase their skills and demonstrate that jiu-jitsu is truly for everyone.
Upon returning to training, Silva realized that hardly anyone was promoting para jiu-jitsu. Very few jiu-jitsu schools even had programs tailored to para-athletes. This realization prompted Professor Elcirley to reach out to different federations and other disabled practitioners.
Other disabled para-athletes like Mario Edson joined forces to promote para jiu-jitsu. Edson and Silva were the very first para jiu-jitsu match at the ADWPJJC in 2017. They, along with other para-athletes, started working with the UAEJJF and AJP. With the support of these federations, Silva began creating a method to teach disabled students.
“From the UAE, I and other para-athletes began traveling the world, visiting every continent, to standardize the modality of para jiu-jitsu. I remember that there were already matches involving disabled people, with records dating back to the 1970s. However, there was a need for functional standards and classifications that would facilitate communication and connection within the PCD universe, encompassing disabilities of a physical, sensory, and cognitive nature.”
“The repetition of physical activities made me adapt, achieve another level of balance that compensated for the absence of the lower left limb, thus providing me with physical support and self-sufficiency in terms of self-confidence. Above all, I saw the potential to showcase the world the power of Jiu-Jitsu in adapting and readapting people in a standardized format.”
Professor Silva is one of the key ambassadors for the Abu Dhabi World Para Jiu-Jitsu Championship, playing a crucial role in organizing the event and promoting it to para jiu-jitsu athletes from around the world.
“The UAEJJF and AJP, through their inclusive policies and approach, have now organized over 100 competitions. They are making efforts to promote inclusivity in the martial art. From this point forward, we are pursuing the Paralympic path and professional activities to optimize adapted jiu-jitsu. The United Arab Emirates has played a fundamental role in accelerating this process globally.”
Professor Silva takes great pride in his work and is delighted to provide other disabled athletes with the opportunity to compete and rediscover themselves. He firmly believes that jiu-jitsu has the power to make this possible.
“There have been 6 Abu Dhabi World Para-JiuJitsu Championship since then. It’s truly something special. Today, hundreds of para-athletes from 44 countries are living their dream of stepping up and competing, becoming medalists and world champions in the discipline. This gives them a chance to showcase their personal stories. It represents a multitude of new possibilities and opportunities, elevating their quality of life to an infinitely greater level.”
Professor Silva is constantly working to promote para jiu-jitsu worldwide. Since the beginning of his journey, he has been volunteering at his home academy, Gracie Barra: Barra Do Garcas in Mato Grosso.
“The school in the interior of Brazihas become a laboratory for standardizing the teaching of adapted jiu-jitsu. In this endeavor, Professor Davi Madruga and the Gracie Barra Team are practicing inclusive Jiu-Jitsu teaching worldwide.”
Silva also travels the world, conducting seminars and assisting schools in including adaptive training for disabled individuals. He couldn’t be happier with where his journey has taken him.
“Today, I live an adapted life voluntarily, spreading the spirit of jiu-jitsu around the world in an adapted way. ‘Disabled yes,’ and I can guarantee it! I am very content with this.”
Elcirley Luz Silva is doing incredibly important work. He is truly making Jiu-Jitsu accessible to everyone through his promotion of para jiu-jitsu.
If you’d like Professor Silva to assist you in creating a program for disabled students or if you’re interested in hosting a seminar, you can contact him via Social media:
We deeply appreciate Professor Silva’s dedication to making Jiu-Jitsu a more inclusive space.